Our Research

Research is the foundation to advancing the energy performance of buildings. NBI studies show a pathway to more advanced design practices and technology applications.

Research

Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings with Radiant Heating and Cooling

Report / August 10, 2017 / Advanced Buildings / HVAC

This report is part of the California Energy Commission (CEC) EPIC project (EPIC-14-009), Optimizing Radiant Systems for Energy Efficiency and Comfort. The main goal of this research was to determine the building characteristics of projects with radiant heating and cooling…

National Grid Presents — Best Practices for Small HVAC

Webinar / June 29, 2017 / Advanced Buildings

Roof Top Unit HVAC systems (RTUs) are ubiquitous in small commercial buildings. Although simple and cost-effective solutions to the HVAC needs of small commercial buildings, RTUs also present multiple challenges to greater energy efficiency. Aging RTUs present multiple opportunities for…

Federal Preememption as a Barrier to Cost Savings and High Performance Buildings in Local Energy Codes

Paper / June 22, 2017 / Codes And Policy

This white paper from New Buildings Institute (NBI) looks at the impacts of federal rules on efficiency standards for appliances, water heating and HVAC equipment and lays out possible solutions from an examination of policies from around the world. Decades-old…

National Grid Presents — Greater Energy Efficiency for Multifamily Buildings — Facing the Unique Challenges

Webinar / June 8, 2017 / Advanced Buildings

Learn strategies to achieve greater efficiency in multifamily buildings of all sizes. Multifamily buildings face a unique set of challenges when pursuing energy efficiency. They are buildings that we generally build more like commercial buildings but use more like residential…

ZNE Action Bulletin, Spring 2017

Document / June 2, 2017 / Zero Net Energy

Find the latest in ZNE news here. Included in this issue: Lancaster adopts new ZNE home ordinance that expands on solar requirements, California legislation would require more than solar-ready roofs, Decathlon program focuses on ZNE buildings, SFUSD honored with transformation…

Risks and Rewards in the ZNE Marketplace

Webinar / March 30, 2017 / Zero Net Energy

What value is derived to owners and developers from a zero net energy building? This webinar will explore and understand the developer and owner perspectives on investor value of zero and take a close look at income, cost, and risk.…

New Construction Guide Errata

Document / March 22, 2017 / Advanced Buildings

Updates and errata for the 1.01 print edition of the Advanced Buildings New Construction Guide and print editions of the 1.01 through 1.12 Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide are available here.

Planning for Districts and Urban Environments

Webinar / February 23, 2017 / Zero Net Energy

Campuses and districts are growing trend in the ZNE marketplace. This webinar will examine the opportunities offered by large-scale developments including real-world examples from projects in Pittsburg and Denver. Challenges presented by dense, urban environments will be spotlighted with analysis…

Zero Net Energy Building Trends and ZEDx Presentations

Webinar / February 1, 2017 / Zero Net Energy

New Buildings Institute (NBI) recently completed its annual list of ZNE verified and emerging buildings and hosted a free webinar to share the trends identified through study of these model projects. NBI Research Director Cathy Higgins joins several industry experts…

ZNE Action Bulletin, Winter 2017

Document / January 31, 2017 / Zero Net Energy

Find the latest in ZNE news here. Included in this issue, anticipating a state executive order mandating that state facilities be ZNE starting in 2025, the California State Lottery Santa Fe Springs office tested various ZNE design choices in the…

Introducing SmartScale: a no-cost online implementation guide & toolkit for small commercial retrofit program planners and implementers

Webinar / December 15, 2016 / Outcome-Based Performance

Ecology Action and New Buildings Institute present SmartScale, a cost effective deep retrofit program for small and medium commercial buildings designed for replication in a wide-range of markets across the country. Market-tested with one of the largest municipal electric utilities,…

California ZNE Watchlist, Winter 2016

Document / December 12, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals.…

2016 List of Zero Net Energy Buildings

Report / October 13, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

The 2016 Zero Net Energy (ZNE) List is available here! We began our research on ZNE buildings in 2009 and published our other leading reports and lists in 2012 and 2014. Our new list includes a wide-range of mainstream building…

NBI’s 2018 IECC Proposals

Webinar / October 4, 2016 / Codes And Policy

Find out more about NBI’s 2018 IECC Proposals during this webinar. The NBI team will be joined by multifamily housing and energy efficiency expert and advocate Nehemiah Stone.

ZNE Action Bulletin, Summer 2016

Document / July 13, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

Read the latest in ZNE news. Included in this issue, the nation's largest ZNE commercial building retrofit opened this past June at the Net Zero Plus Electric Training Institute in Los Angeles and more.

California ZNE Watchlist, Summer 2016

Document / July 7, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals.…

Getting to Zero Registry, Buildings List and Database FAQ

Document / June 23, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

NBI maintains the most comprehensive list of zero net energy verified, emerging and ultra-low energy buildings. This Frequently Asked Questions factsheet details the kind of information NBI collects, how we classify projects and which projects make it into out Getting…

Beyond a Building

Webinar / June 22, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

With almost 5 million commercial buildings in the U.S., the path to zero energy must include approaches that scale across common ownership, physical areas and prototypes. This session addresses how, where and why portfolios, districts, and developments are joining together…

Deep Energy Retrofit: Getting to Zero Net Energy Capable

Webinar / June 2, 2016 / Deep Energy Retrofits / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Learn how to drive 30% or greater energy savings with National Grid and NBI . National Grid has partnered with NBI on an exciting three-part Deep Energy Retrofit webinar series. This is the third and final webinar of this series.

ZNE Policies Within and Across Borders

Webinar / May 18, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

The adoption of net zero policies are extending across regions, countries, and through government. This session highlights the adoption reasons, efforts and planned impacts from European, Pacific Coast, Army and GSA net zero policies and action plans.

NBI Form 990

Document / May 17, 2016

Deep Energy Retrofit: Best Practices in Technologies and Strategies

Webinar / May 5, 2016 / Deep Energy Retrofits

Learn how to drive 30% or greater energy savings with National Grid and NBI . National Grid has partnered with NBI on an exciting Deep Energy Retrofit webinar series. This is part 2 of the three-part series.

ZNE & the School Community for Administrators and Stakeholders

Webinar / April 27, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

This webinar is part of an investor-owned utility (IOU) pilot program aimed at leveraging Proposition 39 dollars to test how some of the state’s existing K-12 and community college buildings can be transformed into ZNE facilities.

Deep Energy Retrofit: Vision, Goals and Process

Webinar / April 7, 2016 / Deep Energy Retrofits

Learn how to drive 30% or greater energy savings with National Grid and NBI . National Grid has partnered with NBI on an exciting three-part Deep Energy Retrofit webinar series.

Zero Net Energy Buildings and the Grid

Paper / April 5, 2016 / Zero Net Energy / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

With exponential growth predicted for U.S. solar installations, substantial distributed energy supply will be available to buildings and communities across the country. When coupled with a highly efficient, intelligent building, these resources represent a tremendous asset, but also a complicated…

Strategies for Getting to Zero

Webinar / March 16, 2016 / Zero Net Energy / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Building design teams often start with two key parts to get to zero: passive design strategies and the availability for the production of site renewables energy (often called the solar budget). These speakers will use projects to demonstrate how they…

ZNE Action Bulletin, Winter 2016

Document / March 8, 2016 / Zero Net Energy / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Since education buildings are the leading type of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings nationally, we're dedicating this edition of the ZNE Action Bulletin to "getting to zero" in schools. "On average, K-12 schools spend more on energy bills than on…

From Policy to Practice

Webinar / February 17, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

Hear what leading states are doing to get their policies, practitioners and their own buildings to zero. The panelists share the work of developing policies from ideation to implementation and the steps on their path to net zero. 1.5 AIA…

Both Sides of the Meter

Webinar / February 17, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

It’s a changing world on both sides of the meter and energy is no longer a one-directional transaction. Fuel options and application, storage opportunities and pricing and policy models all influence the new ‘prosumer’ choices. Our panelist will discuss the…

California ZNE Watchlist, December 2015

Document / February 8, 2016 / Zero Net Energy

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals.…

Zero Net Energy Building Controls: Characteristics, Energy Impacts and Lessons Learned Research Report

Report / December 19, 2015 / Zero Net Energy / Controls

This commercial building research project was conducted by New Buildings Institute and led by the Continental Automated of Buildings Association (CABA). The objective was to characterize monitoring and control systems in Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings focused on three key…

Getting to Zero Energy Outcomes

Webinar / November 4, 2015 / Outcome-Based Performance, Zero Net Energy

Getting to Zero relies more and more on what happens after design with as much as 50% of actual energy use influenced by the occupants and operators. This session brings together best practices, data on occupant driven energy, and new…

Teaming with Technology: A Manufacturer’s Panel

Webinar / October 21, 2015 / Advanced Buildings, Zero Net Energy

Leading manufacturers will share their approaches to meet technical and market needs for low and zero energy buildings. The showcased technologies and manufacturer approaches highlight the energy and non-energy benefits of supporting the move to net zero.

Proposed Multifamily Building Section for the 2018 IECC

Document / October 16, 2015 / Advanced Buildings, Codes And Policy

NBI presented the first public “straw-man” of a proposed section for multifamily buildings in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to the Department of Energy's Denver Energy Codes Stakeholder Meeting on October 13, 2015.

California ZNE Watchlist, September 2015

Document / September 24, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals.…

Why Net Zero Means Business for Owners

Webinar / September 16, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

Any building owner or real estate investor looking at a ZNE new construction or deep energy retrofit project is going to ask, "What value can I derive from the asset and operational changes in a ZNE building?" This session will…

Washington State Energy Code Roadmap

Report / September 11, 2015 / Codes And Policy, Zero Net Energy

The purpose of this roadmap is to provide context for the policy and code performance goals for new buildings in Washington law and identify the mechanisms and cycles by which code provisions can evolve to meet these goals. These code…

Progress Report 2013-2014

Report / August 13, 2015 / New Buildings Institute

This Progress Report begins with a message from our CEO and Board President and contains key highlights from our programs, reports and news.

California ZNE Watchlist, May 2015

Document / May 8, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals. 

Getting to Outcome-Based Building Performance Event Report

Report / May 6, 2015 / Outcome-Based Performance

This report summarizes the work undertaken by a group of building industry thought leaders who gathered for a Performance Outcome Summit in August 2014 in Seattle, Washington. During a day and a half workshop, the group examined the opportunities, barriers…

2015 Getting to Zero National Forum Event Report

Report / February 25, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

In early February 2015, over 250 policymakers, designers, building owners, commercial real estate professionals and others gathered at the Getting to Zero National Forum in Washington D.C. The event showcased the growing momentum for zero energy buildings -- high efficiency…

Names + Numbers: 2015 Interim Getting to Zero Status Update

Presentation / February 25, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

At the 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum, NBI Research Director Cathy Higgins presented the numbers and names of zero energy-verified buidlings as well as emerging projects. The list represents 29 verified and another 152 emerging projects across North America.…

2015 List of Zero Energy Buildings

Document / February 2, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

New Buildings Institute conducted research to identify buildings with targets or actual outcomes of net zero energy. These results were published in ‘ZNE Status Reports’ in early 2012 and 2014. NBI continues to track and document buildings with low and...

ZNE in California: Lessons Learned, Tools, Trends & New Technology Guides

Webinar / January 20, 2015 / Zero Net Energy

California is leading the nation in zero energy buildings and policy thanks to the great leadership and commitment of building innovators and early-adopter owners. Part one provides a 30-minute overview of emerging trends, lessons learned from the first group of…

Staying ahead of advancing energy codes with the Advanced Buildings New Construction Guide

Webinar / December 16, 2014 / Advanced Buildings

With significant increases in stringency in the 2010 edition of ASHRAE’s Standard 90.1 and the 2012 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, what was once high performance design is becoming minimum code. With the release of the Advanced Buildings…

Outcome-Based Performance Summit Summary

Report / September 12, 2014 / Outcome-Based Performance

Attention to achieving desired performance goals, particularly for energy use, through outcome-based requirements is growing. Given the numerous factors that influence actual performance (design, operations, climate, occupancy, etc.) and the traditional delivery pathways, important questions have been raised about how…

Implementing Building Performance Outcome Requirements

Webinar / July 30, 2014 / Outcome-Based Performance

This webinar focuses on projects that have successfully implemented outcome-based requirements. While the design of these projects is important, these case studies highlight issues related to contracts, teams and processes that drove the ultimate achievement of the desired outcomes.

ZNE Action Bulletin

Document / July 25, 2014 / Zero Net Energy / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

In response to requests for more information on news and events in the zero net energy (ZNE) buildings arena, New Buildings Institute (NBI), in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), developed this ZNE Action Bulletin to keep you…

Occupants, Plug Loads & Controls: What Happens After The Design Plug Load Best Practices GuideTeam Goes Home?

Webinar / June 18, 2014 / Advanced Buildings

Achieving zero net energy is not a point in time indicated by a plaque on the wall. It is a continual and ongoing process that requires the engagement of facility managers and occupants.

New Challenges in Net Zero Design

Webinar / June 16, 2014 / Advanced Buildings, Zero Net Energy

Designing and delivering zero net energy projects brings a new set of challenges to designers: new building elements and technologies, new tools, and issues that in the past have been outside the scope of design efforts. Successful teams have found…

Transition to Net Zero: Design Paradigms for Creating Ultra-Efficient Buildings

Webinar / April 28, 2014 / Advanced Buildings

Architects, engineers, owners, operators and utilities come together during this session to understand the business motivations of pursing zero net energy projects, potential for this advanced design practice to become more widespread, and the technical and design challenges that need…

Incremental Costs of Zero Net Energy Buildings

Webinar / April 16, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

One of the most common barriers to zero net energy projects is the concern over incremental ZNE mapcosts compared to typical building practices. This session highlights the results of recent studies by states and organizations that explore the opportunities to…

Net Zero and Living Building Challenge Financial Study: A Cost Comparison Report for Buildings

Report / April 16, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

This study investigates the anticipated cost differential between a set of three reference buildings designed to the LEED Platinum standard and those same three buildings conceptually designed for deep energy efficiency, net zero energy, net zero water and adherence to…

Making the Business Case for Zero Net Energy Buildings

Webinar / March 19, 2014 / Advanced Buildings

Zero net energy buildings are gaining market and media attention as the leading edge of design and business strategy for the built environment.  A growing number of America’s leading companies such as Walgreens, TD Bank and PNC Bank are building…

Getting to Zero: Policies and Programs Presentation Slides

Presentation / February 28, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

Zero net energy (ZNE) projects, policies and programs are emerging across North America. Several states and local agencies have integrated a zero net energy goal into their long-term energy policy and program strategies. This slide deck presents opportunities and lessons…

State and Local Policies and Programs to Promote Zero Net Energy Buildings

Webinar / February 26, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

Several states and federal agencies have integrated a zero net energy goal into their long-term energy policy and program strategies. 

2014 Getting to Zero Status Update Webinar

Webinar / January 16, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

Zero net energy projects, policies and programs are emerging across North America. 

2014 Getting to Zero Status Update

Report / January 14, 2014 / Zero Net Energy

The 2014 Getting to Zero Status Update: A look at the projects, policies and programs driving zero net energy performance in commercial buildings, examines the numbers, locations, types, ownership as well as policy and program drivers for zero net energy…

Essential 7: Commercial Energy Code Voting Guidance for the 2015 IECC-Comm

Document / October 1, 2013 / Codes And Policy

New Buildings Institute, Northwest Energy Codes Group, Institute for Market Transformation and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project identified seven key issues to ensure that the 2015 IECC improves energy efficiency, is easier to apply, and makes compliance and enforcement more straightforward.…

Enlighted Technical Proof of Concept Study

Report / August 28, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report represents the findings on research on the Enlighted wireless luminaire level lighting control system. New Buildings Institute (NBI) conducted the work on behalf of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). The technical proof of concept study aimed to…

Indirect-Direct Evaporative Rooftop Unit Field Test Final Report

Report / June 26, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

As part of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA’s) investigation of new approaches to reducing commercial cooling electric energy use, New Buildings Institute (NBI) installed, monitored and analyzed the performance of a third generation indirect direct (IDEC) evaporative cooler on…

Establishing a Data Collection Methodology, Common Metrics and the Lighting Energy Code Comparison for Lighting Control Systems Research

Paper / May 23, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

Lighting systems with advanced lighting controls offer a pathway to savings, however they also create challenges. The integration of a projected code comparison method is imperative. In this paper NBI is proposing a consistent set of metrics along with a…

Title 24 Final FDD Language and Explanation

Document / April 24, 2013 / Codes And Policy

The language included in the California Title 24-2013 Energy Standards for Non-Residential Buildings requiring certain FDD features in all new rooftop unit heating and cooling equipment of 5-ton capacity or greater starting in 2014.

Rooftop HVAC FDD: Technology and Market Review with Energy and Demand Savings Estimates

Report / April 24, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report reviews and compares the characteristics and approaches for a variety of FDD tools in the market. Also identified are the technology protocols needed to identify faults and the criteria and energy savings estimates used for the inclusion of…

Final Research Summary Report: Skylight Modeling and Validation

Report / April 24, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report summarizes the findings for the Skylight Modeling and Validation project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program. This report was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

Final Research Summary Report: Plug Load Savings Assessment

Report / April 24, 2013

This report summarizes the findings for the Plug Load Savings Assessment project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program. This report was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

Final Research Summary Report: High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators

Report / April 24, 2013

This report summarizes the findings for the High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program. This report was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research…

Commercial Plug Load Energy Use Policy: What’s in Place, Pending and Possible

Paper / April 23, 2013

This paper examines the issues related to the energy use category in commercial buildings commonly referred to as Plug Loads and provides recommendations. With a path in codes and programs headed towards Zero Net Energy, plug loads have become a…

Final Research Summary Report: Rooftop Units FDD

Report / April 23, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report summarizes the findings for the Rooftop Unit FDD project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program. The project goals were to reduce the energy performance degradation in rooftop HVAC units (5-50 tons in size) in California and…

Final Program Report: Evidence-Based Design and Operations PIER Program: Improving the Real World Performance of Commercial Buildings

Report / April 23, 2013

This report presents the results of the Evidence-based Design and Operations Research Program led by New Buildings Institute from 2008-2013. The program included four technical projects for commercial buildings. This work included the development of feedback tools for designers, operators/owners…

Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation

Report / April 23, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report details tasks, findings, and recommendations undertaken for the Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation project. The scope involved developing and validating computer simulation alternatives to physical measurements for producing optical daylighting system photometry. Findings indicate that it is possible…

Plug Load Methodology Paper and Case Study on PECI Office/Metrics Paper

Paper / April 23, 2013 / Deep Energy Retrofits

This guide provides building designers, real estate personnel and utilities with two fundamental ways for expressing energy use characteristics for commercial plug loads; preliminary ranges for high, median, and low calculations; and a summary of references for metering and monitoring…

More about the Sensitivity Analysis–This would be a description of the sensitivity analysis report

Report / March 29, 2013

Sensitivity Analysis: Comparing the Impact of Design, Operation, and Tenant Behavior on Building Energy PerformanceDescription:A study provided a broad perspective on how buildings use energy and what aspects of building energy performance deserve more attention in design, operation and policy…

PIER Research Results

Report / March 19, 2013

Since 2000 NBI has been a part of major energy efficiency research on behalf of the California Energy Commission through the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) endeavor. NBI’s latest PIER research program, Evidence-based Design and Operations, began in 2008 and…

A Method For Evaluating Diagnostic Protocols For Packaged Air Conditioning Equipment

Paper / February 6, 2013 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

Fault detection and diagnostic (FDD) tools are becoming more widely available for residential and light commercial air conditioning systems. The California Title 24 Building Energy Standard includes refrigerant charge and air flow diagnostic protocols and procedures, and energy efficiency programs…

Deep Energy Savings Presentation Slides

Presentation / October 26, 2012 / Deep Energy Retrofits

Cathy Higgins, NBI Research Director, presented at the Urban Land Institute's fall meeting in Denver, Colorado, on potential benefits from deep energy retrofits in commercial buildings and how such investments can contribute to a successful repositioning and help owners manage costs,…

Utility Programs in a World of Rapid, Code-Induced Advancements in Energy Baselines

Paper / September 7, 2012 / Codes And Policy

In recent years, model energy codes – which traditionally require the implementation of specific measures and strategies at the time of new commercial and residential construction – have set the stage for large increases in energy savings as states and…

Key Performance Indicators and Analysis for Commercial Buildings with System Level Data

Paper / September 6, 2012

This report describes NBI's investigation of metered performance indicators (KPIs) for commercial building energy use. These are indicators that can be observed or benchmarked using more detailed system-level meter data beyond whole-building energy data. This is the last stage of…

A Search for Deep Energy Savings

Report / September 6, 2012 / Deep Energy Retrofits

Over the next two decades a majority of the existing building stock will undergo a renovation or equipment upgrade. This represents a critical intervention event for capturing significant energy savings from existing buildings. Through a careful examination of deep retrofits,…

Sensitivity Analysis: Relative Impact Of Design, Commissioning, Maintenance And Operational Variables On The Energy Performance Of Office Buildings

Paper / September 5, 2012

This paper provides a look at the NBI study that compares the magnitude of energy impact that various design features, operations and tenant behaviors have on total building energy use. The perception in the market is that the responsibility for building…

Key Performance Indicators – Field Metering Study and Energy Performance Feedback

Report / July 23, 2012

This report describes an investigation by NBI of metered key performance indicators (KPI) for commercial building energy use. These indicators can be observed or benchmarked using more detailed system-level meter data beyond whole-building energy data. The findings show that calculated…

Getting to Zero 2012 Status Update: A First Look at the Costs and Features of Zero Energy Commercial Buildings

Report / March 5, 2012 / Zero Net Energy

This report examines the number, location, costs and design strategies of various types of zero energy commercial buildings (ZEBs) as well as zero energy-capable (ZEC) buildings, which are energy efficient enough to be zero energy, but have not taken the…

Deep Energy Savings in Existing Buildings: Summit Summary

Report / February 28, 2012 / Deep Energy Retrofits

New Buildings Institute and the National Trust for Historic Preservation hosted a Deep Energy Savings in Existing Buildings Summit. The event convened 80 national experts in critical aspects of energy efficiency. The summit was a working meeting aimed at defining…

NBI Report to EPA on Building Performance versus Design Intent

Report / February 14, 2012

This report documents work that compared the energy performance of typical newly constructed commercial buildings in California with the original design intent for such buildings.

Commercial Office Plug Load Savings and Assessment: Executive Summary

Report / January 24, 2012

This study characterizes electricity consumption of plug load devices in two LEED‐certified buildings in California and explores opportunities for plug load energy savings in office buildings. Findings from this field research suggest low- and no-cost savings opportunities through software, hardware…

Meta Report: A Search for Deep Energy Savings

Report / August 23, 2011 / Deep Energy Retrofits

A report from NEEA's BetterBricks program and New Buildings Institute investigates* 11 energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, resulted in energy use 50% less than the national average – many with an energy use intensity (EUI) below…

Sensitivity Analysis: Comparing the Impact of Design, Operation, and Tenant Behavior on Building Energy Performance

Report / July 27, 2011

This study compares the magnitude of energy impact that various design features, operations and tenant behaviors have on total building energy use. The findings of this study can help the building community begin to align their priorities with those building…

Green Building Performance Evaluation: Measured Results from LEED-New Construction Buildings

Report / July 7, 2011

Is LEED delivering actual energy savings? This study addresses that question with a post-occupancy assessment of 121 LEED buildings across the country. Input to the study consisted of energy bills and brief descriptions of actual building use from owners, plus modeled…

How Accurate is Energy Modeling in the Market?

Paper / June 21, 2011

This paper presents a study of whole building energy use of various completed LEED buildings throughout the nation. The paper focuses on the relationships between predicted and actual energy performance of 90 completed LEED certified buildings. The results of the…

Outcome-Based Energy Codes for Existing Buildings, Seattle Model Energy Code Project

Report / May 16, 2011 / Codes And Policy, Deep Energy Retrofits

The Preservation Green Lab (PGL), the City of Seattle, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) are collaborating on a new energy code framework for existing and historic buildings that will pair accountability for actual performance outcomes with flexibility in how…

Final Advanced Rooftop Unit (ARTU) Product Specification

Report / February 3, 2011 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This specification is proposed for commercial packaged rooftop units equal to or smaller than 135,000 Btu/h. It is intended to improve in-field energy performance for customers and utilities by increasing reliability, maintainability and performance/conditioning monitoring including advanced fault detection.

Using Measured Whole-Building Performance for Green Building Program Evaluation

Paper / December 28, 2010

Green building program energy efficiency strategies often use integrated design, precluding the measurement of results simply from deemed savings of specific measures. This paper describes the use of whole-building measured energy use, by month and fuel, to evaluate the achievements…

A Tool for Efficient First-Views of Commercial Building Performance Results

Paper / August 19, 2010

This paper describes a new method of benchmarking monthly whole building energy. The resulting “first view” can identify the general nature of major building inefficiencies, thus directing further investigation of specific problems. The research, funded by a grant from EPA,…

Code Calibration: Understanding What Energy Codes Can Really Achieve

Paper / July 28, 2010 / Codes And Policy

This paper observes that a key problem with current energy code practice is the difficulty in determining what level of performance the codes are delivering. Current energy code practice is based on estimated energy use of a theoretical sample of…

Commercial Rooftop HVAC Unit Retrofit Programs Phase 1

Paper / June 30, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This report is a secondary research project examining data available on pilot and operating rooftop unit (RTU) retrofit programs around the country at the time and summarizes a variety of information on the topic. Included are discussions of technical issues,…

Evidence-Based Design & Operations Research Program

Report / June 22, 2010

NBI is managing this three-year research program as a part of the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program funded by the California Energy Commission. The effort is a linked series of projects that examine the variation in energy use of commercial buildings…

ARTU Cost Benefit Analysis

Paper / February 24, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This document presents an analysis of the costs and benefits associated with the features of an advanced rooftop unit (ARTU). These features were identified in the “

Hot Dry Climate Air Conditioner (HDAC) Combined Field Test Report

Report / February 24, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This field test consisted of site and AC selection, installation and replacement, performance monitoring, and data analysis. Standard baseline SEER 13 air conditioners were first monitored and then replaced with HDACs. Monitoring of the baseline and HDAC units were completed…

Building Controls in an Era of High Performance Buildings

Paper / February 17, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This white paper, also known as "My Car Is Smarter Than Your Building," looks at the lessons controls-savvy cars can teach us about how high performance and enlightened controls standards can lead to more energy efficient buildings.

Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings

Report / February 17, 2010

NBI has completed the broadest study to-date of measured energy performance of LEED buildings called “Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings.” Aimed at better quantifying the actual energy performance levels of green building, the study gathered whole building…

FAQ: Energy Performance of LEED for New Buildings

Report / February 17, 2010

The year-long study, "Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings," suggests significant opportunities for program improvement, even while it is clear that LEED is having a positive impact on building energy performance. As this information has been made publicly…

Advanced Metering and Energy Information Systems

Report / February 16, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

Under a project for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NBI researched trends and new technologies in advanced metering as used in energy information systems (EIS).

Assessment of Market-Ready Evaporative Technologies for HVAC Applications

Report / January 28, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

NBI completed a report on the range of evaporative, evaporative hybrid and evaporative condensing technologies for HVAC applications on behalf of Southern California Edison including: technologies, manufacturers, market applications and adoption factors surrounding evaporative approaches to cooling.

Desert CoolAire Package Unit Technical Assessment: Final Report

Report / January 28, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

NBI conducted lab and field technical assessments of eight Desert CoolAire prototype indirect evaporative air conditioners on behalf of Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Sacramento Municiple Utility District. Also see the 2007 Addendum with additional monitoring and equipment status.

Desert CoolAire Technical Assessment: 2007 Addendum

Report / January 28, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

NBI conducted lab and field technical assessments of eight Desert CoolAire prototype indirect evaporative air conditioners on behalf of Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Sacramento Municiple Utility District. This addendum includes additional information about monitoring and equipment status. Also see the Final Report on…

Small HVAC Problems & Potential Savings Reports

Report / January 27, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This document was one of the technical attachments to the final report of a larger research effort called "Integrated Energy Systems: Productivity and Building Science Program" as part of the PIER Program funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and managed…

Advanced Variable Air Volume System Design Guide

Report / January 26, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

The Advanced Variable Air Volume (VAV) System Design Guide (Design Guide) is written for Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) designers and focuses on built-up VAV systems in multi-story commercial office buildings in California. The Design Guide recommendations include best practices…

California Outdoor Lighting Baseline Assessment: Appendices

Report / January 21, 2010

This document provides supplemental information to the California Outdoor Lighting Baseline Assessment. Included here are the following: 1. Outdoor Lighting Baseline Assessment Final Report Appendices -- A set of seven appendices containing methodologies, results, data and other detailed information associated with…

Summary and Recommendations of the Getting to 50 Summit

Report / January 21, 2010

In March 2007, New Buildings Institute (NBI) hosted and facilitated the Getting to 50 Summit. This meeting of 60 experts was initiated to develop relationships and strategies which will significantly and rapidly reduce energy use in new and renovated commercial…

Daylighting In Schools: Reanalysis Report

Report / January 21, 2010 / Advanced Buildings

This study expands and validates previous research by Heschong Mahone Group that found a statistical correlation between the amount of daylight in elementary school classrooms and the performance of students on standardized math and reading tests.

Daylight and Retail Sales

Report / January 21, 2010 / Advanced Buildings

This study presents evidence that a chain retailer is experiencing higher sales in daylit stores than in similar non-daylit stores.The study included 73 store locations in California, of which 24 stores were daylit primarily by diffusing skylights.

Windows and Classrooms: A Study of Student Performance and the Indoor Environment

Report / January 21, 2010 / Advanced Buildings, Deep Energy Retrofits

This study investigates whether daylight and other aspects of the indoor environment in elementary school student classrooms have an effect on student learning, as measured by their improvement on standardized math and reading tests over an academic year. The study…

California Outdoor Lighting Baseline Assessment

Report / January 21, 2010 / Codes And Policy

This is the first major study to provide real data about commercial building outdoor lighting in the State of California. The report identifies statewide outdoor lighting design practices; estimates energy demand and consumption; and provides a framework for outdoor lighting…